The Tourism Industry Emergency Response Group (TIER) is a group comprising of key tourism industry associations and organisations, as well as relevant government departments, for which VisitBritain provides the secretariat. It has been meeting regularly during the COVID-19 outbreak. The group has been monitoring impact and sharing evidence of the issues facing the industry and business impact to help Government develop and shape support for tourism businesses at this crucial time.
We've been updated regularly by TIER, via the Business Visits and Events Partnership but, as tourism both outbound and inbound begins, and the events sector averseas starts to present opportunities, we'll be sharing their updates here.
Message on behalf of TIER: COVID-19 update 24 July
Face covering exemptions guidance now available
Face coverings are not mandatory for anyone under the age of 11 or those with disabilities or certain health conditions.
Pausing of lockdown easements in Blackburn, Darwen and Luton – sport and exercise facilities to remain closed
The latest data shows the incidence of COVID-19 in Blackburn with Darwen and Luton is higher than in other areas of the country and therefore the further easement of lockdown measures in these areas will be paused. This means indoor gyms, swimming pools and other sport and exercise facilities will not reopen in Luton or Blackburn and Darwen on 25 July.
Travel corridor destination updates
Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines have been added to the list of travel corridors coming into effect from Tuesday 28 July in England
Additional countries and territories exempt from advice against ‘all but essential’ international travel
The FCO has updated its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ travel, exempting destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers. The travel exemption list has been updated with an additional 19 countries including Laos, Cambodia, Fiji, Samoa, Sri Lanka, Cuba, Guadeloupe, St Barthelemy, St Martin, St Maarten, Aruba, New Caledonia, Curacao, Cook Islands, British Indian Ocean Territory, Falkland Islands, St Helena, Ascension Island and Tristan da Cuna
Easing the COVID-19 restrictions in Northern Ireland
The Northern Ireland Executive have made a number of announcements regarding relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions
From 24 July:
- The maximum number of people who can gather in a residential setting will increase from six to 10, with a requirement that they come from no more than four different households and an expectation that social distancing and other public health advice is observed;
- Overnight stays in a different household will be enabled;
- Community centres and halls will be enabled to reopen;
- Spectators will be enabled to attend outdoor competitive games with numbers to be determined by the venue in line with public health advice;
- Swimming pools in leisure centres, hotels and private facilities will be enabled to open;
- Wet treatments in spas, such as saunas, steam rooms and hydrotherapy pools will be permitted to resume;
- Bowling alleys will be enabled to reopen;
- Indoor and outdoor funfairs will be enabled to reopen.
Pubs - The Executive has also agreed an indicative date of August 10 for the reopening of indoor pubs and bars selling only drink (wet pubs). This relaxation will be ratified in advance of the indicative date depending on the prevailing COVID-19 situation at that time.
Face Coverings - The wearing of face coverings is highly encouraged in enclosed spaces where it is not possible to social distance. The executive has agreed the powers to enforce, but are running a publicity campaign to encourage people to wear face coverings. If this does not have the desired effect of around 80% people wearing face coverings the Executive will use the powers to mandate wearing of face coverings from 20 August.
Travel - The travel advice for outbound travel has been revised in line with FCO guidance and now states - ‘You should carefully consider your holiday and travel options, in light of the continuing COVID-19 threat. A 'staycation' is one way of mitigating the risks - while also supporting the local economy. If you're holidaying abroad, you may have to self-isolate for a period of 14 days on your return home – depending on which country you have visited’. In addition, The Executive has agreed to write to both the British and Irish Governments calling for a special summit of the British Irish Council to be convened to discuss COVID travel issues and the Common Travel Area.
Other Government updates
Draft legislation options have been published to show how government could respond to a local or regional coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak without returning to a national lockdown.
- A daily visitors to DCMS sponsored museums and galleries has been published. These experimental statistics have been developed by the DCMS statistics team, in partnership with the DCMS sponsored museums, to help monitor the effect of lifting the COVID-19 restrictions. To see the full set of figures, download the report.
- The UK Government has announced that the devolved administrations Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive a minimum of £3.7 billion in additional funding this year.
Additional overseas Visa Application Centre (VACs) open
A further set of overseas VACs locations are due to reopen on 27 July 2020, bringing the total number of opened VAC locations to 154, leaving 56 locations that still remain closed. The most up to date information on open locations can be found online:
- Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East visit: uk.tlscontact.com
- All other countries visit: vfsglobal.co.uk